Thursday, July 18, 2013

Indies FTW: My favorite indie series on Youtube

I really should be working on my novel right now. I will at some point... I just wanted to take a break after work and some errands I had to take care of today. I still think the stigma exists that whatever indies produce is crap. They didn't go at it the traditional way. As an indie, some people hate you right off the bat and think nothing you do is worth anything. Now this blog post isn't about me. I'm an indie author but I'm just barely ahead of pace to sell 400 books this year. While I'm stoked that my number in 2013 is way up from the 156 in 2012, I'm going to talk about some indies that really made it big just by pushing up in the rankings on Youtube. Here's three great indie series that I think everyone should check out.

1. Kid History

Kid History can be enjoyed by everyone. Their videos are hilarious. Basically, the group of guys and girls from Utah asks their kids to explain how some stories that their parents told them went down and then the adults act it out using the kids voices. Don't pretend you're too cool to like this kind of stuff. It's funny. They also have a series of Kid Snippets where they ask two kids to just talk about what would happen in a certain situation. Here's their latest Kid History video. You can watch more on the Youtube channel BoredShortsTV.

2. Mario Warfare

Mario Warfare was funded by a Kickstarter a while back. They had two episodes made when they completely ran out of money and asked to be funded via Kickstarter so that they could continue. Imagine Mario with mobsters, guns, karate, and a shoutout to all sorts of other games (Donkey Kong appears in episode 3 and I know they have some more outside characters written in for future episodes.) The makers of Mario Warfare asked for $20,000 to finish up the season. They raised $38,647 over their one month Kickstarter campaign and the first episode is currently over 3.3 million views. I'll put the first episode of Mario Warfare here and you can decide if you want to watch episodes two and three (I know I'm trying to be patient while they work on episode four.) If you want to watch more, they make these on the Youtube channel beatdownboogie.

3. Video Game High School

Have you heard of Freddie Wong? He made a bunch of cool videos on Youtube basically just showing people what he and his roommate Brandon could do with special effects. He has some seriously badass videos and if you haven't checked them out... you really should. In 2011, Freddie and Brandon decided to make their own series called Video Game High School and they ran a kickstarter to fund it. Their month long Kickstarter campaign raised $273,725. Not bad for an indie video maker taking a shot at their first series. They released one episode a week and the episodes were amazing. The show also featured other well-known youtubers and actors. The sauce boss from EpicMealTime is the principal. The guy who played Chuck on Chuck (you know... the Nerd Herd secret agent) was a teacher at the school. Freddie made a brief appearance as well in a few of the episodes. I can't really go into detail on how much this series rocks. I'm not even going to try to give you a brief description. As a guy who considers himself a geek... season one of VGHS was ridiculously awesome. I'll throw up episode one on Youtube but all of season one is available on Netflix as a linked together movie instead of short installments. Freddie and Brandon are making season two right now and their Kickstarter campaign for season two brought in $808,341. That's a crazy amount of money for an indie film maker. If you want to see more of their videos, check out the channel freddiew.

And there you go. I've given you all the tools you need to waste some serious amounts of time if you like any of the three series I clued you in on. You're welcome. Go support these indies and watch some epic Youtube. Oh and if you want to support another indie... GO BUY SOME OF MY BOOKS! I have links all over my blog for a reason. Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble... I have stuff all over the place in lots of formats. :-P

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Attack of the Paperbacks

One of the best ways I've recently found to get my writing out there is through multiple formats. On a lot of my e-books, I like to give people the option of an e-book or an audio book. While I mostly just sell at Amazon, I now have free books through other vendors and I'm trying out a $9.99 combo photo travel book at Barnes and Noble. E-books have done well for me so far this year and I've sold over 100 audio books since January. With my new photo based travel books (I make one pretty much every time we go on a cool vacation), I didn't really have the option of doing audio books because 1. they wouldn't make any sense without the pictures and 2. they're very short without the pictures.


So I decided a while back to modify my photo-based travel books and give people a paperback option using Createspace (since they distribute through Amazon.) I ordered a proof of each one of the four books in my travel series and they look pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Here's a couple of pictures of what the front and back covers look like for a few of them:

three travel paperbacksback travel paperbacks

The photos on the inside turned out better than I was expecting and so all of the paperbacks look great both outside and inside. I'm really happy with the way the proof copies turned out. I've already given a couple of them away but I had to hold on to at least one because they're pretty fun to reread.

So far, I've sold a handful of paperback copies in the U.S. and the U.K. I make almost nothing on them, I really just want to let people have the option of a paperback if they don't have a Kindle, don't want the Kindle app, or just prefer paperbacks. Just as an FYI, I make less than a dollar for each copy that I sell. Three of them are $9.99 and the longest book is $14.99. I had to price them that high because of the amount of pictures in each one. Ink isn't cheap and my $14.99 travel book has over 125 pictures in it plus text plus the amazing front and back cover shots.

If you've ordered one, two, three, or all four of these and I live close to you, I would be happy to sign them the next time I see you if you'd like me to. These four are all 100% Randy Morris originals. I made the front and back covers, I took all the photos in the books, and I researched and wrote out the background history for the pictures. I'm pretty proud of them. I need to give a shout out to my mom though because she pays for us to go on some pretty amazing vacations and she does all of the planning. So Mom, this is one of the only times you'll ever hear me say this... you're awesome. :-P

All four are available on Amazon and that's probably the best way to get them. Keep in mind that Amazon gives you free shipping on orders over $25 and you could easily hit that price point by buying a few of these. Here's the links:

Traveling Asia: The Philippines -
Traveling Asia: Tokyo, Taipei, & Hong Kong -
Traveling the U.S.: Hawaii -
Traveling the U.S.: East Coast History -

If you decide to purchase copies (paperback or ebook), thank you for supporting me as a part-time author. I've dreamed of people buying my books since I was a little kid... I just never imagined I could actually sell hundreds of books a year in several different formats in my twenties. Eventually, I plan on aiming for the thousands. I hope everyone had a great Independence Day (if you're in the U.S.) and have a great Saturday.